Meet China's Richest Man, Who Lives on $20 a Day - NBC 7 San Diego

Meet China's Richest Man, Who Lives on $20 a Day

Billionaire's spending habits makes Buffett look like a drunken sailor



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    AFP/Getty Images
    This photo taken on November 4, 2009 shows Chinese businessman Zong Qinghou, the founder of China's largest soft drinks maker Wahaha, speaking during a company conference in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province. Zong, the 65-year-old founder of China's largest soft drinks maker Wahaha, has become China's richest man according to a new list released by Forbes on October 28, 2010. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

    Warren Buffett is famous for living in a modest means at odds with his vast wealth, but Zong Qinghou has the Oracle of Omaha beat.

    Qinghou, whose empire includes 200 subsidiaries in soft drinks, clothing and food, lives on the equivalent of $20 a day and claims smoking and drinking tea as his only hobbies, according to the BBC. The 67-year-old entrepreneur runs his businesses with his wife and daughter and personally signs off on every spending decision.

    "My only exercise is doing market research... my only hobbies are smoking and drinking tea," he said.

    Qinghou, who Forbes estimates is worth just under $6 billion, is China's richest man, according to the magazine.

    His company has grown from a small shop selling vitamin drinks to a massive conglomerate in just two decades. The product that propelled him to billionaire status was Wahaha Oral Liquid for Children. That success prompted the government to ask him to take over a failing canning business that he quickly turned around despite skepticism from his workers.

    His next project is to open 100 supermarkets in China's mid-sized cities.

    Qinghou is a delegate to China's National People's Congress and one of the nation's most generous philanthropists, according to the BBC. But he buys into the "teach a man to fish" theory, saying if you simply give money to the poor, "they just spend it."